I still need the reassurance of a familiar brand before it's a real story - Tony Maddox, CNN senior VP
In Sandra 2012, you get a comprehensive, fairly detailed benchmark summary of all major system components, including detailed CPU and memory parameters. With support for all the newest chipsets and instruction set extensions, plus complete reporting, Sandra is a good choice for multi-platform benchmarking.
Now, since the current AMD platforms are unfortunately quite a bit behind in per-core performance, the only real competitor here is the previous generation Xeon, the 'Westmere' X5690 3.46GHz six-core processor with 12MB of cache, basically a dual-socket twin of the Core i7 990X from last year's high-end desktops. Unlike the new Xeon E5 chip, the older Westmere Xeon was more oveclocking friendly through base clock uplift, which provided a decent 30 per cent overclock within 'reliable productivity performance enhancement' limitations.
If you wanted the top performance, you could get this performance optimised Xeon E5-2687W and tune up the board and memory, or get an overclocked X5690 pair on the EVGA SR2 mainboard. How about a handicap match, where we compare the two, the 3.1GHz but tuned Xeon E5 pair versus the 4.25GHz overclocked and tuned X5690 pair? Remember, the X5690 has only a total of six memory channels, forced to run at DDR3-1667, versus eight on the new platform, but still over a third faster clock frequency. Both were in multithreading mode. What do we get then? See this exclusive comparison:
The new platform seems to hold its own in just about every parameter, despite the clock handicap. There doesn't seem to be much reason to stick to the old platform at all. If you look at Cinebench 11.5, which is FP intensive but not yet supporting AVX FP extensions, this configuration beats anything else in two sockets as well, despite no AVX instruction extensions support in the benchmark:
XEON E5-2687W 3.1GHz - 25.39
XEON X5690 4.3GHz - 21.30
XEON X5680 3.3GHz - 16.73
You see the result here, plus the CPU-z screenshot. CPU-z identifies it as an EP/EX CPU, when there will be no Sandy Bridge-EX processors. Instead, as we hear, the honour for the next multi-socket E7 follow-on will likely go to the Ivy Bridge, and in a new socket to boot.
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